For most of us old EVE players, the metaverse of the game is as important as the game itself. EVE would be nothing without the player-generated stories of evictions, slander, theft and good deeds, we have become a famed community not despite EVE itself is such a buggy work in progress but because of it. And while blogs and news aggregators used to be our watering holes (EVE Forums have always been limited to new players who just didn’t know any better), the shift to r/eve is nearly complete.
I admit it, it is my guilty pleasure to wallow in the filth and dirt of /r/eve for the same reason why I read the comment sections of some extreme political sites. But also for another reason – I am worried about EVE Online, worried about CCP and worried that the “EVE is dying” posse accidentally is correct. And there is an honesty in Reddit posts, many Redditors care deeply about the game and the community and are not shy to call out CCP to get their house in order.
Overall, the sentiment appears to be that EVE is on its way down. This isn’t news, EVE has always been dying and somehow lived because it was unique. Only in EVE, “Death” and “assets” mattered. Your friends mattered, your reputation mattered. Other games replaced human interaction with automation, skills with Gear Score and dedication with constant purple drops. EVE was the last bastion of the min/maxer, the spreadsheet junkie, the nerd who spent hours optimizing a fit and gleefully bragged about that. We, always the few, are getting fewer and fewer.
Exactly these mechanics that maintained EVE against all market drivers are being systematically removed by CCP and replaced with features that cater to a far more casual player base. The new events and PvE mechanics apparently (I have not run a single one of them) promise quick action for reasonable risk/reward. Skill injectors allow anyone with a modest credit card to jump ahead to the EVE endgame of Rorqual Mining in Delve and the removal of resource-driven wars guarantees long-term stability of corporations, alliances and coalitions. Sure, a few skirmishes and deployments here and there but nobody in their right mind expects Goons to be evicted ever from their homes. Not that it can’t be done – it has been done before – but nobody has the will to put together a massive undertaking like this.
Anyway, for the first time, I am worried about the future of EVE and its community. I think CCP is desperately trying to manage expectations of a shrinking customer base whilst designing features for a new generation of players that simply won’t come. I had hoped that Pearl Abyss will inject some much needed mojo (and marketing) back into our Vikings but I am not seeing much evidence.
CCP / PA. Please prove me wrong.
“We, always the few, are getting fewer and fewer.”
I was thinking in recent months that the login numbers seem higher with more people undocked (Eve-offline hints at the same).
“..replaced with features that cater to a far more casual player base..”
I’ve lamented the opposite – with CCP taking away options I previously had for my style of casual play.
CCP seems to have been deliberately targeting certain play styles for a while now. The type that their statistics show spend the most money over the longest period of time. If you are not within those demographics – then EVE can feel like it is dying.
I also wonder about the impact of the way CCP seems to balance the game. It is not uncommon for their middle ground to be a point where no one ends up happy.
I personally don’t feel like EVE is dying at the moment – but I understand why many think it is. It is easy to be disenfranchised. If CCP allow enough groups to end up like that, then it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Interesting assessment. I spend very little time in HS and maybe (hopefully) you are right. Maybe it isn’t all that dire.
But lets turn it this way – what is actually on the horizon for EVE? DUST, Player-built stargates, Citadels, end of POS? What are exciting features we can look forward for?
I would very much like a roll back on injectors and a total overhaul of resource harvesting, including active mining, bounties and so on. The time really is right to kill the elephant in the room: Unlimited, risk-free, AFK ISK making in Sov NS under an ever-growing supercap umbrella. This mechanic breaks all other industrial activities by its sheer volume of ISK generation alone.
There is next to nothing mentioned or hinted at by CCP for what is in EVE’s future. A redesign of the agency interface, some balancing, and a 64-bit client. I have presumed they are holding their cards close to their chest so they can drip feed us something at every fan event they attend across the year. That won’t be helping enthuse anyone suffering from disenfranchisement though.